Western New York Flash coach and general manager Aaran Lines that players should have to be playing for their club in order to be available for selection for their country.
On Wednesday the Flash announced that forward Abby Wambach would not play for the club in 2015, choosing to focus her efforts solely on the World Cup. It’s a decision that, while not completely surprising, puts the Flash in a pickle. Lines said in an interview with espnW that Wambach informed the club of the decision after January’s NWSL College Draft, which the Flash could have approached differently knowing their U.S. striker — the world’s all-time leading goal-scorer — would not play at all in 2015.
“What I don’t really understand,” Lines told espnW, “is how can a player make that decision to not play at club level, and still be able to play for her country? If you don’t play for club in the men’s game, you don’t get the opportunity to play for country, do you? We need to head in that direction of the men’s game.”
Wambach would have only played a few games early in the National Women’s Soccer League season — which starts on April 10 — before joining the U.S. for camp and the World Cup through at least late June.
As Jeff Carlisle points out in the article, there is a certain hypocrisy on display by the U.S. Soccer Federation, which has for the past two years not-so-quietly demanded that its national players take part in the NWSL. Now one of the faces of the league is dropping out for 2015 and possibly for good (Wambach reportedly wants to play in the 2016 Olympics).
In a statement, U.S. coach Jill Ellis called Wambach’s situation “unique.”
Lines went on to say that the Flash tried working with Wambach on how to limit her travel, but they could not come to a conclusion. Wambach and her wife, Sarah Huffman, own a house in Portland, Ore., which could be a factor in Wambach’s decision.
Wambach likely still could have played in nine NWSL matches after the World Cup, assuming the U.S. made the final.
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